Thursday, June 21, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Satan decided to have some fun one weekend. He got into John C. Reily's body and knocked Tilda Swinton up. Ten months later, a baby boy was born: Kevin, an evil creation of the purest form.

I have seen movies where kids play naughty to annoy the step mom, and then pretend like an ideal child in front of their father. Kevin is a lot like those kids, but he is not just any spoilt brat. I keep going back to the notion in my mind that he is pure evil. He confronts his mother at every stage of growing up, but becomes relatively manageable around his father. He is also full of contradictions. At one point of time when he falls ill, he oddly grows closer to his mother and flips at his father; this lasts for no longer than a night. Kevin feeds on his mother's guilt. He taps it in a bottle and sucks on it. She takes him to the doctor, and almost appears to be wishing he'd tell her that something is indeed wrong with Kevin.

The movie is told non-linearly, alternating between the present, in which Eva's life is in shambles, and the past, where she deals with her son. Following the occurrence of some event, Eva is forced to take refuge in a lesser neighborhood, away the life she led in her past. She is over-qualified but settles for a lowly job. People stare at her on every corner, and seem ready to cause any possible harm. Kevin is in prison, and we can only assume why. Eva's life is a mess, but the better her present gets, the messier her past becomes. Does she blame herself for the way Kevin grew up to be? Can anyone in their right state of mind blame her after seeing what she had to go through? Can a mother wholeheartedly hate her own son? Questions questions.

My relationship with my mother isn't all that smooth. We disagree on so many issues. There have been times I have told myself it is normal that we don't relate all that well, as she isn't my lover/wife and that we don't have the same interests. But then I remind myself that she's my mother and that we have to be alike in many ways. If my relationship with her doesn't work, will I be able to make a fruitful connection with anyone else?

The past finally catches up with the present, and we feel this equilibrium, a state of calm. The entire process is, in some ways, cathartic for Eva. He may be a devil, but he is still his Mommy little boy. Ramsay's masterclass visual storytelling, Jonny Greenwood's haunting music, the brilliant performances by Swinton and Miller. There is so much more to talk about this gem of a movie. I am madly in love with it.